A Series of Adventures in the Course of a Voyage Up the Red-Sea, on the coasts of Arabia and Egypt; and of a route through the desarts of Thebais, hitherto unknown to the European traveller, in the year M.DCC.LXXVII. In Letters to a lady.

Irwin, Eyles. 1751-1817.

Book ID: 1106


4to. xv, [1], 400 pp., half-title page with upper fore-corner cut out without any loss to text, 3 engraved folding maps, 2 steel engraved plates, each with 2 views, 1 engraved plan: A View of the Town of Yambo, contemporary full calf, rubbed round edges, title gilt on decorated spine, rebacked boards retaining backstrips, contemporary inscription on title page, front fly leaf partly detached, occasional spotting, otherwise copy in general good condition, J. Dodsley, London, second edition, 1780.


Eyles Irwin was born in Calcutta and served with the East India Company. He was appointed the ship’s writer in the East India Company’s Madras Presidency but was later dismissed when he refused to take a post at Vizagapatam after the revolution in the Madras government, against which he signed a protest. He departed for England in 1777, but his ship was captured by pirates and the passengers were forced to cross the desert between the Red Sea coast and the Nile. It took him eleven months to reach England. In the autumn of 1780 he returned to India by the route which is described in the third edition. of this work. The text consists of two letters describing 1) the Red Sea voyage 2) the Route through the Egyptian desert.
The author recounts his imprisonment in Yanbu, Arabia, and further voyage to Jeddah, as well as his adventures in Egypt, his journeys through the Peloponnese and Balkans as well as Persia. He includes an “Ode to the Persian Gulf”, which extols the beauties of Bahrain. In 1802, Irwin was to produce a musical play, “The Bedouins, or Arabs of the Desert: a Comic Opera in Three Acts” (1802), which played in Dublin for three nights.
The plates include views of the town of Mocha (al-Mukhah) on the shore of the Red Sea in Yemen, including its early mosques, and of the Straits of Bab al Mandab. Also shown is a detailed view and chart of Yanbu, the port giving access to al Medina.
Bibliographic references: Blackmer, 865; Brunet III, 459; Gay 66; Ibrahim Hilmy I p. 325 cites an edition of 1781; Macro 1293;

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